Client Satisfaction Research - Final Report 2013-2014

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Executive Summary

This section details the key findings and conclusions which follow from the 2013-2014 client satisfaction research among clients and stakeholders of the Canadian Transportation Agency. Separate phases of quantitative and qualitative research were conducted.

The quantitative research consisted of 279 surveys conducted among five client types: those who went through an inspection or new licensing process, those involved in a travel-related dispute adjudication, those involved in a non-travel related dispute adjudication and multi-party determination, those whose disputes were facilitated by the Agency, and those involved in a mediation.

The qualitative phase of research consisted of 26 qualitative in-depth interviews with Canadian transportation industry stakeholders from organizations representing the railway, air, and marine industries; shipper associations, and persons with disabilities.

This summary presents the key findings ensuing from both research components in two major sections: quantitative and qualitative. Because the audiences for these two types of research are very different, and interact with different levels of Agency personnel in very different ways, the conclusions and recommendations resulting from research analysis are presented separately.

The contract amount of this research is $54,868.85 (including HST).

Key Findings from the Quantitative Research

Satisfaction with the Agency

Clients were asked how satisfied they were with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency, regardless of the outcome of their interaction with the Agency. Three quarters (72 per cent) report satisfaction with the overall service that they received from the Agency. The 2013/2014 results are similar to those found in 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 (when 76 per cent and 75 per cent of clients, respectively, indicated overall satisfaction with the Agency), and are significantly better than those found in earlier years of surveying. In both 2010/2011 and 2009/2010, 65 per cent of respondents indicated overall satisfaction with the Agency (please note that the question during these years was slightly different, asking respondents to rate their level of satisfaction aside from their view of the particular process they had undergone with the Agency, rather than regardless of the outcome, and the question was asked of different audience groups in the earlier years (in 2009-10, only facilitation and mediation respondents were surveyed).

Clients were also asked to rate the extent to which they felt that their interaction with the Agency met their objectives. A majority of clients (56 per cent) say that the process met their objectives either fully (39 per cent) or largely (17 per cent). This is down from 2012/2013; however, it is still considerably better than earlier iterations of the survey. For instance, in 2010/2011, only 44 per cent said that the process met their objectives either fully (28 per cent) or largely (16 per cent). Also please note that, as indicated above, when looking at satisfaction regardless of outcome, ratings are significantly higher (72 per cent, compared to 56 per cent when outcome is included).

Respondents were asked how long it took to resolve their issue, and what they consider to be an acceptable time to resolve the issue. One in five (18 per cent) said it took between one and thirty days for their issue to be resolved, and roughly the same proportion (21 per cent) indicated it to be between 31 and 60 days. Tracking reveals a decline from 2012/2013 in terms of the proportion who indicated the Agency resolved their issue in 30 days or less. Results further reveal that the plurality of clients (43 per cent) expect the Agency to resolve their issue in 30 days or less.

Views on Agency Interactions

Clients were asked to rate the importance of various attributes of service from the Agency. Results reveal that all of the attributes of service examined are seen as very important by a majority of clients, although the knowledge and competence of staff is seen as particularly important. Accuracy of information, helpfulness of staff, and being provided with information that is easy to understand are also seen as highly important. The time it takes to acknowledge their issue, and the time it takes to resolve the matter, are seen as relatively less important issues (although a majority of clients still see these as very important service aspects).

Respondents were also asked to rate their satisfaction with these various attributes of service. Results reveal that the majority of clients are at least somewhat satisfied across all of the aspects examined. Respondents are most satisfied with the courtesy of staff, and the ease of dealing with staff. A clear majority are also satisfied with respect to the knowledge and competence of staff, helpfulness of staff, accessibility of staff, and the accuracy of the information provided. The time required to receive acknowledgment and the time it took to resolve the matter garnered the lowest levels of satisfaction. Tracking reveals a decline over the past year in satisfaction levels across many of the aspects examined, particularly the time it took to resolve the client's issue and the impartiality of staff.

Respondents were also asked to indicate how important they found several other aspects of service from the Agency. Results reveal that all aspects are seen as at least somewhat important by eight in ten or more respondents; however, clients place the most importance on fairness of treatment, and having their questions answered.

Clients were also asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements about these same aspects of service. Across all of the statements, at least two in three respondents strongly or somewhat agreed (i.e., expressed satisfaction); however, satisfaction varies significantly across the service aspects. Respondents most often agree that the contact they had with the Agency was in the official language of their choice, that they were informed of everything they had to do in order for their matter to be dealt with by the Agency, and that they were treated fairly. Clients are least likely to agree that staff responded quickly; that the Agency's forms were easy to complete, and that they were offered a variety of means of contacting Agency staff. Tracking reveals a decline in agreement with some of these statements over the past year, particularly in terms of staff responding quickly, and having a variety of means of contacting the Agency.

Views on Agency Process

Respondents were also asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements about Agency processes. Four in five agree that the Agency made clear the information required for submission, and three in four felt that the process was carried out in a professional manner. Just over half, however, feel that the process was impartial, or that they had enough opportunity to respond to the other party's point of view. Tracking reveals a decrease in agreement across many of the areas examined, particularly with respect to impartiality, having enough opportunity to respond to the other party's point of view, the Agency process being clearly explained, and the process being conducted in a professional manner.

Interacting with the Agency

Respondents were asked which method they used to get information about the Agency. The method identified most often is email, followed by the Agency's website. Results are largely consistent with those found in 2012/2013 in terms of email and the Agency website; however, the use of telephone as a source of information about the Agency is down significantly over the past two years (from 57 per cent in 2011/2012 to 40 per cent currently).

Clients were also asked which method they would most prefer to use to get information about the Agency. Just under half indicated email (49 per cent, up seven per cent since 2012/2013), while four in ten indicated the Agency's website (39 per cent, down two points since 2012/2013). Only about one in ten (eight per cent) indicate a preference for telephone (down seven per cent since 2012/2013).

Survey results further reveal that over nine in ten (92 per cent) continue to say that they have visited the Agency's website (although this is down three percentage points since 2012/2013). Results further reveal that satisfaction with the website is fairly high. Roughly six in ten indicate that the website had the information they were looking for (62 per cent - up one percentage point since 2012/2013); that it was easy to find information they needed on the website (61 per cent - up seven percentage points over the past year), and that the information on the website was easy to understand (60 per cent - down 1 percentage point since last year). Looking at perceptions of the Agency's website since 2009/2010, results reveal that satisfaction with the website has been quite varied over the past five years: across all three of these questions, satisfaction levels worsened between 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, improved in 2011/2012, and then worsened again in 2012/2013. As indicated earlier, satisfaction with the website has remained largely consistent between 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 in terms of having the needed information and understanding the information, however, perceptions regarding the ease of finding information has improved by seven percentage points.

The survey also included a series of new questions examining satisfaction with the Agency's website. Results reveal that two-thirds feel the Agency's website is accessible (68 per cent) and that the information on the website is useful (65 per cent). A further six in ten feel that the Agency's website is easy to navigate (61 per cent).

Conclusions and Recommendations – Quantitative Research

Survey results reveal that overall satisfaction with the Agency is high, and has remained stable over the past year. Moreover, most clients believe that their objectives were met in their dealings with the Agency (although results are down over the past year).

However, findings also reveal that while satisfaction with specific aspects and attributes of service is high, satisfaction levels are down across many of these aspects/attributes, particularly in terms of impartiality and timeliness of issue resolution.

Results reveal a strong correlation between objectives met and overall satisfaction – the lower score for objectives met could be a reason for the lower satisfaction ratings. As mentioned earlier, when looking at satisfaction regardless of outcome, ratings are significantly higher (72 per cent, compared to 56 per cent when outcome is included).

Findings also reveal that the vast majority of clients have visited the Agency's website, and the website is increasingly seen as the preferred method to get information about the Agency. Moreover, satisfaction with the website is fairly high, and has improved in terms of the ease of finding information since 2012/2013.

As was found in last year's quantitative research, these results suggest some areas are in need of Agency attention:

  • The Agency should try to improve the time it takes to resolve issues (or communicate better the time required for issue resolution). Clients express high expectations that issues should be resolved within 30 days.
  • Satisfaction with impartiality/fairness is down across several questions. Agency might want to look into recent decisions to determine if there is a reason for these findings.
  • Belief that objectives were met has declined over past year and this could be the reason for the lower satisfaction ratings (particularly for impartiality).
  • Improving clarity of information should also be given high priority (identified as an area in need of attention across several indicators).

Results also reveal that the website receives fairly positive ratings, and views are improving in some areas.

Given the very small number of responses from several of the target audiences, qualitative research among these audiences may be a more effective approach to understanding their perspectives than a survey.

Given concerns about the Agency's impartiality, an employee survey with staff who deal directly with clients may provide useful information about why clients feel this way.

Finally, the Agency should continue to examine client perceptions to monitor key issues such as whether satisfaction ratings are rebounding, and if satisfaction with website continues to increase with the redesign currently underway.

Key Findings from the Qualitative Research

Satisfaction with the Agency

Consistent with findings in the previous two cycles of stakeholder interviews, most stakeholder are satisfied with the working relationship between their organization and Agency staff. The majority indicate that Agency staff are very approachable and that there is a "healthy and robust relationship" between their organization and the Agency. Stakeholders feel that they can approach the Agency at any time with questions, concerns, or assistance on interpretation of decisions. As noted by many stakeholders, the relationship is collaborative, with one articulating that there is "a lot of correspondence and exchange of ideas".

Overall, staff are typically described as collegial and professional. Most stakeholders are also satisfied with the opportunities for effective dialogue, beyond day-to-day interactions, with the Agency. The Agency is seen as having an "open door policy" to accept contact on any matters of concern. As one stakeholder noted "we know we can always call the Agency; we're never blind-sided by any decisions they make". This last point is in contrast to findings from the 2011/2012 interviews where a lack of consultation from Agency personnel was noted when issues that would affect policy and processes were emerging.

Most indicate that the good relationship and effective dialogue with the Agency has remained consistent over the past year or two. However, a few others perceive that there has been a negative change in terms of the Agency being less productive and timely, or with new Agency staff being less helpful or less knowledgeable of the industries involved. Issues related to new staff were also noted in the 2011/2012 interviews in terms of the "institutional memory loss" and the need to build new relationships.

Dispute Resolution

Similar to 2011/2012 results, most stakeholders are satisfied with the process and describe the facilitation process as fair. Most indicate that the majority of cases involving facilitation come to a resolution where both sides are satisfied. The facilitation process is seen as relatively efficient and inexpensive. One stakeholder described the process as "the quickest way to get to the heart of the matter and speak freely about the challenges and issues".

However, a few stakeholders feel that the Agency does not have an active role in the process. As articulated by one stakeholder, "there is not a lot of value in what the Agency provides – in most cases we settle it directly with the consumer". A few other clients felt that the Agency served as "diplomats" to "carry a conversation" between the two parties.

Most stakeholders indicate that mediation is a cost effective and efficient alternative to formal dispute resolution, however, many stakeholders indicate some degree of frustration with the mediators. Some mediators are seen as not properly trained on the role of a mediator or on the industries involved. Some mediators are described by clients as "too passive". This issue was also mentioned in the 2011/2012 interviews.

A second area of concern presented by a few stakeholders is that through the mediation process, one side's position has become exposed, jeopardizing the outcome. This was noted within shipping and rail industries, causing some reluctance to make use of the mediation process.

Most describe adjudication as the most drawn out and expensive of dispute resolution options and, therefore, the least desirable approach. That said, stakeholders indicate that adjudication is a "powerful tool" and useful for big cases and for instances where facilitation or mediation fail. Air respondents indicate that there has been a change in the past few years in terms of the direction of decisions, with the Agency having "a very pro-consumer point of view" which is not seen as appropriate for what is to be a third party judicial body. A few stakeholders also express concerns with the speed of the adjudication process.

Accessibility

As in previous years, stakeholders in the accessibility group all cited participation on the Accessibility Advisory Committee as their primary and most important interaction with the Agency and the Committee is very well received by stakeholders. They state that there is "more information being shared in this manner and more opportunities for participation, overall a positive experience".

Most indicate that they are appreciative of the opportunities to consult on special issues that have arisen to revise the rules and regulations within the transportation industry. Arranging more frequent meetings of the Accessibility Advisory Committee is noted as an area of improvement for the Agency. In addition, most indicate that while they appreciate the opportunity to provide input on a policy, new rule or regulation, they would like to understand if and how their input was used.

Many also point to a lack of clear policy when it comes to disability and travelling: issues are addressed "on a case-by-case basis". The majority of stakeholders say there should be a "book of practice" that would outline clear rules and policies for transporters, which would limit conflicting situations and challenges.

Another area of improvement mentioned is for the Agency to ensure that all Agency publications and the website are adapted to special needs (i.e., simplified text, large print).

A few noted the need for more consistent training of carrier employees to accommodate the needs of those with accessibility concerns. These stakeholders indicate that training can be inconsistent or not appropriately implemented, therefore, they feel there should be Agency monitoring of carrier training on accessibility issues.

Shipping and Rail Industry

Findings suggest that the viewpoints of railway companies and shippers are at odds with each other: as one shipping stakeholder indicated, "the Agency is the last line of protection between shippers and railways", effectively summing up the relationship. As has been found in previous consultations, rail stakeholders are concerned that the agency has been taking on too much of an advocacy role and lacks impartiality. One cited examples where they saw the Agency coach or advocate for a complainant against rail. On the other hand, a few shipping spokespeople express the view that many shippers do not have enough knowledge of dispute resolution alternatives and complaint processes, and require the assistance of the Agency to help them understand these processes.

Both rail and shipping stakeholders expressed positive views on the Agency's executive leadership, saying this has improved in recent years. However, a few rail stakeholders feel the Agency lacks expertise in handling rail issues, and fear that Agency staff who best understand the industry are being lost. These concerns about lack of expertise are not shared by shippers, in fact, shipping clients indicate that they would like to see the Agency more actively educate the shipping community about its services and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Specific improvements railway company stakeholders wish to see in the Agency include more expertise within the Agency on rail issues, and clarification of their jurisdiction. Some rail clients feel there could be more opportunity for the Agency and railways to work together to solve issues, but also expressed concerns that the Agency has not respected its mandate in relation to Section 98 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Shippers wish to see more outreach and education by the Agency about its services.

Airline Industry

As mentioned previously, airline stakeholders indicate that there needs to be a more balanced approached of considering the needs of both the consumer and the industry – the Agency is seen as pro-consumer. Stakeholders also mention that as a private industry, they are challenged with "trying to do more with less" and Agency requirements and rulings have a financial impact on their organization.

As was found in previous interview sessions, most airline stakeholders report positive interactions with the Agency staff that administer permits, operating certificates, licenses, and international agreements. Although some stakeholders report that Agency requirements are somewhat "bureaucratic"; most clients indicate that the process overall is acceptable.

Consistent with results in previous interviews, stakeholders welcome the experience and expertise of the Agency to support the filing of tariffs. Additionally, sample tariffs published on the Agency website by the Agency was viewed as a useful tool by most clients. However, some stakeholders feel that the Agency has "greatly expanded their area of interest" and "inappropriately so" in rulings to state that a carrier's tariff is unreasonable. Finally, a few stakeholders feel the Agency is creating an inequitable environment for carriers through a "patchwork of decisions". As a solution, a few clients indicated that the Agency should be adopting regulations to enable consistency across the industry.

Marine Industry

Two interviews were held with stakeholders who have an interest in the marine industry. Both have a positive working relationship with the Agency, though the nature of their interaction with the Agency varies considerably. Both stakeholders expressed an interest in the Agency offering more training sessions and outreach to its stakeholders, though on different topics (one sees a need for more training on dispute resolution alternatives; the other has an interest in accessibility code of practice training). One feels training could take the form of conferences, webinars, and teleconferences. There were no systematic industry-related issues identified in these interviews.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The results of these stakeholder interviews suggest the following:

  • Stakeholders express high levels of satisfaction in terms of staff responsiveness and dialogue/ communication with the Agency – this suggests that outreach and education about Agency services should be continued or enhanced if possible.
  • However, some stakeholders (particularly railway stakeholders) express lower levels of satisfaction in terms of knowledge levels of staff, suggesting more training of staff may be required.
  • In a related issue, concerns are also expressed that the Agency is losing experienced staff and institutional memory – this suggests the need for a strategy to explain how the Agency is dealing with staff turnover, and better knowledge transfer to new staff.
  •  Findings also reveal concern about fairness/impartiality expressed by some stakeholders. However, it should be noted that, in some cases, the lack of impartiality seems to be done to level the playing field (particularly in terms of rail vs. shipping stakeholders). For instance, rail stakeholders are concerned that the agency has been taking on too much of an advocacy role and lacks impartiality but, at the same time, shipping spokespeople express the view that many shippers do not have enough knowledge of dispute resolution alternatives and complaint processes, and require the assistance of the Agency to help them understand these processes. This finding suggests a need to better communicate reasons for decisions/actions of the Agency.
  • Facilitation and mediation are seen as efficient and cost-effective alternatives to formal dispute resolution – the Agency should continue to support these processes.
  • However, several stakeholders expressed concern about the training and knowledge of mediators. This finding suggests that the Agency should examine why stakeholders feel this way about mediators.
  • Overall, results suggest better outreach and communication would be well received by stakeholders, and would likely help to address some of the issues raised by stakeholders.

1. Background, Objectives, and Methodology

The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal and economic regulator. It makes decisions and determinations on a wide range of matters involving air, rail and marine modes of transportation under the authority of Parliament, as set out in the Canada Transportation Act and other legislation.

The Agency's mandate includes:

  • Economic regulation, to provide approvals, issue licences, permits and certificates of fitness, and make decisions on a wide range of matters involving federal air, rail and marine transportation.
  • Dispute resolution, to resolve complaints about federal transportation services, rates, fees and charges.
  • Accessibility, to ensure Canada's national transportation system is accessible to all persons, particularly those with disabilities.

The Agency supports the goal of a competitive and accessible national transportation system that fulfills the needs of Canadians and the Canadian economy.

1.1 Objectives of the Research

Client satisfaction research data allows the Agency to gauge its success as a client-centered organization. This ongoing collection of feedback on its services, relationships and performance is part of its process for continuous improvement, and has proved invaluable in shaping the Agency's priorities. Feedback received has enabled the Agency to develop a better understanding of the responsiveness and quality of its services and processes, identify areas and priorities for improvement, and chart progress in making them clearer, simpler and more effective.

The Agency's research on client satisfaction is directly related to the Government of Canada's management accountability framework (MAF) on results for Canadians. Most significantly, it supports the government's initiative on client-centered service delivery, and ultimately leads to better quality information for parliamentarians about the Agency's programs and results.

Also, as per the Agency's 2011-14 Strategic Plan and ongoing commitment to service delivery excellence, the Agency is becoming more client-centric by seeking ways to understand the client/ stakeholder experience and providing insight into what drives overall satisfaction with the Agency.

A formal Client Satisfaction Survey Framework was therefore designed to complement existing mechanisms for capturing client/stakeholder perceptions of their interaction with the Agency. Client satisfaction surveys are a decision-making tool intended to help the organization improve its service delivery.

EKOS Research Associates was commissioned by the Canadian Transportation Agency to conduct a survey of client satisfaction. The research has several objectives:

  • Establishing baseline levels of satisfaction with various aspects of service and measuring improvement over time
  • Identifying elements of service in need of improvement in order to be client-centred and responsive
  • Connecting the research to government-wide efforts to deliver client-centred services

This research employs a range of core measures from the Common Measurement Tool (CMT). The CMT is a comprehensive survey instrument used by the Government of Canada to measure client satisfaction. This research examined overall client satisfaction with the Agency, as well as satisfaction with timelines, accessibility of service, fairness, competence, and ease of access to information. The establishment of baseline data on client satisfaction is an important element of the Treasury Board Secretariat's Service Improvement Initiative.

The Agency has conducted four previous research projects examining client satisfaction (in 2009-2010; 2010-2011; 2011-2012; and 2012-2013), and many findings in this report are compared with these earlier surveys.

1.2 Methodology

A) Quantitative Methodology

The methodology for this study involved an online survey of clients of the Canadian Transportation Agency. The sample was provided to EKOS by the Agency. The following audiences were sampled:

  • Travel-related dispute adjudication: Those with travel-related adjudicated disputes and determinations (ADJ)
  • Facilitation: Passengers with travel-related complaints processed through facilitation (including persons with disabilities) (FAC)
  • Inspection and new licensing: New licensing and inspection activity (INSP)
  • Mediation: Those who have been involved in mediations (MED)
  • Non-travel dispute adjudication: Those with both non-travel-related dispute adjudication and multi-party determination (NTD)

The table below presents the number of completed surveys and response rates across the five target audiences surveyed (response rates were calculated by dividing the number of completed surveys by the number of sent surveys, for all audiences).

Table 1: Response Rate

 

FACADJNTDMEDLIC/INSPTotals
Complete 193 11 2 22 51 279
Sent 496 16 9 39 200 764
Response Rate (%) 39% 69% 22% 56% 26% 37%

 

The surveys were conducted primarily online, although a limited number of surveys were administered by paper and returned to EKOS for manual data entry.

Among the five audiences interviewed, two audiences generated completed surveys in numbers high enough for independent statistical analysis: inspection and new licensing (n=51, when taken together), and facilitation (n=193). The other audiences, drawing from much smaller universes, did not generate large enough samples for independent statistical analysis. As a result, the data from these smaller audiences should be interpreted as directional in nature.

While some questions in the survey were specific to a particular audience, several areas of inquiry, based on the CMT, were common to all audiences. This report provides the results of those questions asked in a common fashion across multiple audiences. Please also note that responses may not always sum to 100 per cent due to rounding.

Throughout, the research results are tracked to the 2012/2013, 2011/2012, 2010/2011, and 2009/2010 iterations. The audiences included in 2010/2011 and 2009/2010 surveys differed slightly from the more recent surveys. In 2010/2011, respondents who made an inquiry to the Agency were included, while during the 2009/2010 research, only facilitation and mediation clients were included.

B) Qualitative Methodology

A list of proposed contacts, representing 32 separate client organizations, was provided by the Agency, targeting transportation industry stakeholders representing: the railway, air, and marine industries; shipper associations; and persons with accessibility issues. Individuals on the contact list were pre-notified by the Agency to alert them of the upcoming research and to indicate that EKOS Research would be contacting them to schedule an interview. This is a research industry practice to garner higher participation rates.

EKOS then contacted individuals, inviting them to participate in the study by scheduling a discussion. A copy of the interview guide was sent by e-mail in advance of the interview to allow the respondent to prepare and understand the issues to be discussed.

Table 2 illustrates the breakdown of participants by category:

Table 2: Key Informant Interviews by Respondent Type
CategorySampleUnique Organizations in SampleInterviews Completed
Accessibility 9 8 7
Airline 20 8 7
Shippers 7 8 5
Marine 3 3 2
Railway 10 5 6
TOTAL 49 32 26*

 

2. Detailed Findings - Quantitative

2.1 Satisfaction with the Agency

In order to determine clients' level of satisfaction with their Agency interaction, respondents were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the Agency, and why they felt this way.

Clients were asked how satisfied they were with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency, regardless of the outcome of their interaction with the Agency, using a scale of one to five, where one means very dissatisfied and five means very satisfied. Three-quarters of respondents (72 per cent) report satisfaction with the service that they received from the Agency (rating as a four or five on the scale). One in five (17 per cent) report dissatisfaction with the quality of service that they received (rating as a one or two on the scale), and nine per cent express a neutral view (rating as a three on the scale).

The 2013/2014 results are similar to those found in 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 (when 76 per cent and 75 per cent of clients, respectively, indicated satisfaction with the Agency). These results are significantly better than those found in earlier years of surveying. In both 2010/2011 and 2009/2010, 65 per cent of respondents indicated overall satisfaction with the Agency (please note that the question during these years was slightly different, asking respondents to rate their level of satisfaction aside from their view of the particular process they had undergone with the Agency, rather than regardless of the outcome), and the question was asked of different audience groups in the earlier years (in 2009-10, only facilitation and mediation respondents were surveyed).

Satisfaction with the Agency
Satisfaction with the Agency

Long description

Regardless of the nature of their interaction, three in four clients are satisfied with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency.

This chart has five horizontal stacked bars, one representing 2013/2014, one representing 2012/2013, one representing 2011/2012, one representing 2010/2011, and one representing 2009/2010. On a scale of 5 points where 1 means very dissatisfied, 2 somewhat dissatisfied, 3 neither, 4 somewhat satisfied, and 5 means very satisfied.

Respondents were asked: Putting aside your views on the outcome of your dealings with the Agency, how satisfied were you with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency?

  • In 2013/2014, respondents selected very satisfied (53 per cent), somewhat satisfied (19 per cent), neither (9 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (6 per cent), and very dissatisfied (11 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (72 per cent).
  • In 2012/2013, respondents selected very satisfied (51 per cent), somewhat satisfied (24 per cent), neither (7 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (7 per cent), and very dissatisfied (10 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (75 per cent).
  • In 2011/2012, respondents selected very satisfied (52 per cent), somewhat satisfied (24 per cent), neither (7 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (4 per cent), and very dissatisfied (12 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (76 per cent).
  • In 2010/2011, respondents selected very satisfied (41 per cent), somewhat satisfied (24 per cent), neither (13 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (7 per cent), and very dissatisfied (13 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (65 per cent).
  • In 2009/2010, respondents selected very satisfied (44 per cent), somewhat satisfied (21 per cent), neither (8 per cent), somewhat dissatisfied (7 per cent), and very dissatisfied (6 per cent) (14 per cent). Combined total somewhat/very satisfied (65 per cent).

The base size is n=279

2.2 Reason for Satisfaction with the Agency

Respondents satisfied with the Agency were asked to identify the main reason for their satisfaction with the service received. These respondents most often say that they are satisfied because of the excellent service they received (52 per cent, and this is up seven per cent since 2012/2013). One in ten indicated that they were satisfied with the outcome of the interaction (10 per cent), or that the service was prompt/timely (10 per cent).

Reason for Satisfaction with the Agency
Reason for Satisfaction with the Agency

Long description

Reasons for level of satisfaction with the quality of service provided by the Agency among those satisfied with the overall quality of service.

This chart has six horizontal single bars.

Respondents were asked: Main reason for the positive rating given about overall quality of service provided by the Agency [Open]. Respondents selected:

  • "Excellent service" (52 per cent);
  • "Satisfied with outcome overall" (10 per cent);
  • "Prompt, timely, fast" (10 per cent);
  • "Process was clear/fair/impartial" (2 per cent);
  • "Other (includes negative responses)" (13 per cent); and
  • "Don't know/no response" (8 per cent).

The base size is n=203.

2.3 Reason for Dissatisfaction with the Agency

Those who indicated that they were dissatisfied with the service they received tend to feel the Agency was not impartial in dealing with them (24 per cent, down from 33 per cent in 2012/2013), that it took too long to get answers (20 per cent, up from 12 per cent last year), or they were dissatisfied with the outcome overall (18 per cent, up 6 per cent since last year).

Reason for Dissatisfaction with the Agency
Reason for Dissatisfaction with the Agency

Long description

Reasons for level of satisfaction with the quality of service provided by the Agency among those dissatisfied with the overall quality of service.

This chart has seven single horizontal bars.

Respondents were asked: Main reason for the negative rating given about overall quality of service provided by the Agency [Open]. Respondents selected:

  • "Not impartial" (24 per cent);
  • "Took too long to get answers/for something to be done" (20 per cent);
  • "Dissatisfied with outcome overall" (18 per cent);
  • "Lack of authority/jurisdiction in matter" (14 per cent);
  • "Did not inform enough of what could be done" (6 per cent);
  • "Other (includes positive responses)" (6 per cent); and
  • "Don't know/no response" (8 per cent).

The base size is n=49.

2.4 Perception of Agency Process Meeting Respondents' Objectives

Clients were also asked to rate the extent to which they felt that their interaction with the Agency met their objectives. Almost six in ten (56 per cent) say that the process met their objectives either fully (39 per cent) or largely (17 per cent). This is down from the 2012/2013 sounding; however, this is still considerably better than earlier iterations of the survey. For instance, in 2010/2011, only 44 per cent said that the process met their objectives either fully (28 per cent) or largely (16 per cent). Also please note that, as indicated above, when looking at satisfaction regardless of outcome, ratings are significantly higher (72 per cent, compared to 56 per cent).

It should also be noted that one in three indicated that their objectives were not met at all (24 per cent) or only a bit (eight per cent). This is roughly the same as last year, but up from 2011/2012 (when 23 per cent indicated their objectives were not met).

Perception of Agency Process Meeting Respondents' Objectives
Perception of Agency Process Meeting Respondents' Objectives

Long description

About half of respondents report that the process met their objectives, while one in four say it did not.

This chart has five horizontal stacked bars, one representing 2013/2014, one representing 2012/2013, one representing 2011/2012, one representing 2010/2011, and one representing 2009/2010. On a scale of 5 points where 1 means not at all, 2 a bit, 3 acceptable degree, 4 largely, and 5 fully.

Respondents were asked: To what extent were your objectives met in your dealings with the Agency?

  • In 2013/2014, respondents selected fully (39 per cent), largely (17 per cent), to an acceptable degree (12 per cent), a bit (8 per cent), and not at all (24 per cent).
  • In 2012/2013, respondents selected fully (44 per cent), largely (17 per cent), to an acceptable degree (6 per cent), a bit (6 per cent), and not at all (25 per cent).
  • In 2011/2012, respondents selected fully (45 per cent), largely (19 per cent), to an acceptable degree (10 per cent), a bit (7 per cent), and not at all (16 per cent).
  • In 2010/2011, respondents selected fully (28 per cent), largely (16 per cent), to an acceptable degree (14 per cent), a bit (11 per cent), and not at all (28 per cent).
  • In 2009/2010, respondents selected fully (43 per cent), largely (8 per cent), to an acceptable degree (18 per cent), a bit (6 per cent), and not at all (21 per cent).

The base size is n=279

2.5 Impact of Outcome on Satisfaction with the Agency

As in previous years, satisfaction with the overall quality of service provided by the Agency is closely tied to whether or not the objectives of the respondents' interaction were met. Among those who say that their objectives were met, over nine out of ten respondents report satisfaction with the overall quality of service (97 per cent among those whose objectives were fully or largely met). Seventy-three per cent report satisfaction with the overall quality of service among those whose objectives were met to an acceptable degree. Among those who say that their objectives were met only a bit or not at all, satisfaction with the service they received declines to 27 per cent. These results are largely the same as those found in 2012/2013 and 2011/2012. As mentioned earlier, when looking at satisfaction regardless of outcome, ratings are significantly higher (72 per cent, compared to 56 per cent when outcome is included).

Impact of Outcome on Satisfaction with the Agency
Impact of Outcome on Satisfaction with the Agency

Long description

Satisfaction with overall quality of service is closely tied to the perception that their objectives were met.

This chart has four single horizontal bars that shows the per cent satisfaction (4-5 on the scale) with service provided by the Agency among all respondents and among respondents based on the extent to which their objectives were met.

Respondents' responses were for: "satisfaction among all respondents" (72 per cent). Satisfaction among those whose "objectives were fully or largely met" is 97 per cent; "objectives were met to an acceptable degree" is 73 per cent; and "objectives were a bit or not at all met" is 27 per cent.

The base size is n=279

2.6 Timeliness of Acknowledgementfrom the Agency

Clients were asked how long it took to receive an acknowledgement from the Agency, and what timeframe would be acceptable to receive an acknowledgementNote 1. Results reveal that almost half of respondents (47 per cent) say they received an acknowledgement from the Agency within five days, and an additional 14 per cent indicated they received an acknowledgement within five to nine days. The proportion who received an acknowledgement within five days is up over the past year (from 37 per cent in 2012/2013 to 47 per cent currently).

Results also reveal a growing desire to receive this information within five days (43 per cent, up from 32 per cent two years ago).

Relatively few clients indicated they had to wait more than 20 days for an acknowledgement (21 per cent), and even fewer (seven per cent) would find it acceptable to wait this long.

Timeliness of Acknowledgement from the Agency
Timeliness of Acknowledgement from the Agency

Long description

These two charts have six single tracking horizontal bars, each with a bar representing 2013/2014, a bar representing 2012/2013, a bar representing 2011/2012, a bar representing 2010/2011, and a bar representing 2009/2010.

LEFT CHART: Respondents were asked to: Please indicate the approximate number of days it took for the Agency to acknowledge your [application/complaint]?

  • In 2013/2014, the respondents selected: "Less than 5 days" (47 per cent); "5-9 days" (14 per cent); "10-19 days" (9 per cent); "20-24 days" (3 per cent); "25-29 days" (0 per cent); "30 days or more" (18 per cent).
  • In 2012/2013, the respondents selected: "Less than 5 days" (37 per cent); "5-9 days" (16 per cent); "10-19 days" (17 per cent); "20-24 days" (5 per cent); "25-29 days" (2 per cent); "30 days or more" (16 per cent).
  • In 2011/2012, the respondents selected: "1-4 days" (35 per cent); "5-9 days" (26 per cent); "10-19 days" (20 per cent); "20-24 days" (6 per cent); "25-29 days" (2 per cent); "30 days or more" (11 per cent).
  • In 2010/2011, the respondents selected: "1-4 days" (35 per cent); "5-9 days" (28 per cent); "10-19 days" (15 per cent); "20-24 days" (3 per cent); "25-29 days" (1 per cent); "30 days or more" (17 per cent).
  • In 2009/2010, the respondents selected: "1-4 days" (22 per cent); "5-9 days" (40 per cent); "10-19 days" (25 per cent); "20-24 days" (4 per cent); "25-29 days" (1 per cent); "30 days or more" (7 per cent).

The base size is n=240.

RIGHT CHART: Respondents were also asked: What do you consider an acceptable number of days for the Agency to acknowledge your [application/complaint]?

  • In 2013/2014, respondents selected: "Less than 5 days" (43 per cent); "5-9 days" (32 per cent); "10-19 days" (15 per cent); 20-24 days" (2 per cent); "25-29 days" (0 per cent); "30 or more days" (5 per cent).
  • In 2012/2013, respondents selected: "Less than 5 days" (40 per cent); "5-9 days" (31 per cent); "10-19 days" (17 per cent); 20-24 days" (3 per cent); "25-29 days" (0 per cent); "30 or more days" (4 per cent).
  • In 2011/2012, respondents selected: "1-4 days" (32 per cent); "5-9 days" (42 per cent); "10-19 days" (18 per cent); 20-24 days" (3 per cent); "25-29 days" (2 per cent); "30 or more days" (3 per cent).
  • In 2010/2011, respondents selected: "1-4 days" (37 per cent); "5-9 days" (39 per cent); "10-19 days" (17 per cent); 20-24 days" (1 per cent); "25-29 days" (3 per cent); "30 or more days" (3 per cent).
  • In 2009/2010, respondents selected: "1-4 days" (26 per cent); "5-9 days" (29 per cent); "10-19 days" (41 per cent); 20-24 days" (1 per cent); "25-29 days" (0 per cent); "30 or more days" (1 per cent).

The base size is n=240.

2.7 Timeliness of Resolution from the Agency

Respondents were also asked how long it took from the time they submitted their issue to the Agency to the resolution of the issue, and also what they consider to be an acceptable time to resolve their issue. One in five (18 per cent) said it took between one and thirty days for their issue to be resolved, and roughly the same proportion (21 per cent) indicated it to be between 31 and 60 days. Tracking reveals a continued decline in terms of the proportion who indicated the Agency resolved their issue in 30 days or less: from 26 per cent last year to 18 per cent currently.

Results further reveal that most respondents (43 per cent) expect the Agency to resolve their issue in 30 days or less (although this is down over the past two years).

Timeliness of Resolution from the Agency
Timeliness of Resolution from the Agency

Long description

These two charts have five single tracking horizontal bars, each chart with a bar representing 2013/2014, a bar representing 2012/2013, a bar representing 2011/2012, a bar representing 2010/2011, and a bar representing 2009/2010.

LEFT CHART: Respondents were asked: Overall, how long did it take for the Agency to resolve your issue from start to finish?

  • In 2013/2014, respondents selected: "1-30 days" (18 per cent); "31-60 days" (21 per cent); "61-90 days" (18 per cent); "91-120 days" (11 per cent); "121 days or more" (23 per cent).
  • In 2012/2013, respondents selected: "1-30 days" (26 per cent); "31-60 days" (31 per cent); "61-90 days" (10 per cent); "91-120 days" (10 per cent); "121 days or more" (15 per cent).
  • In 2011/2012, respondents selected: "1-30 days" (60 per cent); "31-60 days" (19 per cent); "61-90 days" (9 per cent); "91-120 days" (4 per cent); "121 days or more" (8 per cent).
  • In 2010/2011, respondents selected: "1-30 days" (26 per cent); "31-60 days" (18 per cent); "61-90 days" (13 per cent); "91-120 days" (16 per cent); "121 days or more" (28 per cent).
  • In 2009/2010, respondents selected: "1-30 days" (22 per cent); "31-60 days" (22 per cent); "61-90 days" (21 per cent); "91-120 days" (14 per cent); "121 days or more" (17 per cent).

The base size is n=240.

RIGHT CHART: Respondents were also asked: What would be an acceptable number of days, from start to finish, for the Agency to resolve your issue

  • In 2013/2014, respondents selected: "1-30 days" (43 per cent); "31-60 days" (32 per cent); "61-90 days" (13 per cent); "91-120 days" (2 per cent); "121 days or more" (3 per cent).
  • In 2012/2013, respondents selected: "1-30 days" (53 per cent); "31-60 days" (28 per cent); "61-90 days" (8 per cent); "91-120 days" (2 per cent); "121 days or more" (2 per cent).
  • In 2011/2012, respondents selected: "1-30 days" (72 per cent); "31-60 days" (17 per cent); "61-90 days" (8 per cent); "91-120 days" (2 per cent); "121 days or more" (2 per cent).
  • In 2010/2011, respondents selected: "1-30 days" (38 per cent); "31-60 days" (28 per cent); "61-90 days" (24 per cent); "91-120 days" (8 per cent); "121 days or more" (2 per cent).
  • In 2009/2010, respondents selected: "1-30 days" (38 per cent); "31-60 days" (35 per cent); "61-90 days" (14 per cent); "91-120 days" (11 per cent); "121 days or more" (2 per cent).

The base size is n=240.

2.8 Importance of Attributes of Agency Service

Clients were asked to rate the importance of various aspects of service from the Agency on a scale of one to five, where one means not at all important, and five means very important. Subsequently, they were asked to indicate their level of satisfaction with those aspects of service on a five-point scale, where one means very dissatisfied and five means very satisfied.

Results reveal that all of the aspects of service examined are seen as very important by a majority of clients, although the accuracy of the information provided and the knowledge and competence of staff are seen as particularly important (84 per cent and 83 per cent of respondents, respectively, feel these aspects are very important). Helpfulness of staff (77 per cent), being provided with information that is easy to understand (73 per cent), and staff being easy to deal with (73 per cent) are also seen as highly important. The time it takes to acknowledge their issue (59 per cent), and the time it takes to resolve the matter (57 per cent), are seen as relatively less important issues (although a majority of clients still see these as very important service aspects).

Importance of Attributes of Agency Service
Importance of Attributes of Agency Service

Long description

In terms of attributes of service, respondents place the most importance on the accuracy of the information they receive, as well as the knowledge and competence of Agency staff.

This chart has 10 horizontal stacked bars for 2013/2014, with a column total importance for 2013/2014, a column total importance for 2012/2013 and a column total importance for 2011/2012 on the side. On a scale of 4-5 points where 4 means somewhat important and 5 means very important.

Respondents were asked to: How important do you view each of the following aspects of service from the Agency? Respondents selected:

  • "The accuracy of any information provided": very important (84 per cent), somewhat important (10 per cent); total importance (94 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (96 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (95 per cent);
  • "Knowledge and competence of staff": very important (83 per cent), somewhat important (13 per cent); total importance (96 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (97 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (95 per cent);
  • "Helpfulness of staff": very important (77 per cent), somewhat important (16 per cent); total importance (93 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (95 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (94 per cent);
  • "The Agency provides me with information that is clear and easy to understand": very important (73 per cent), somewhat important (19 per cent); total importance (92 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (95 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (93 per cent);
  • "Staff are easy to deal with": very important (73 per cent), somewhat important (21 per cent); total importance (94 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (93 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (93 per cent);
  • "Impartiality of staff": very important (72 per cent), somewhat important (16 per cent); total importance (88 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (89 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (91 per cent);
  • "Staff are easily accessible": very important (70 per cent), somewhat important (22 per cent); total importance (92 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (90 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (92 per cent);
  • "Courtesy of staff": very important (68 per cent), somewhat important (25 per cent); total importance (93 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (93 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (94 per cent);
  • "The time it takes to acknowledge my issue"*: very important (59 per cent), somewhat important (28 per cent); total importance (87 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (85 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (90 per cent); and
  • "The time it takes to resolve the matter": very important (57 per cent), somewhat important (30 per cent); total importance (87 per cent); total importance in 2012/2013 (87 per cent); total importance in 2011/2012 (86 per cent).

The base size is n=279.

The image includes a note that "The time it takes to acknowledge my issue" was not asked of INSP, MED or NTD if the matter brought by other party (n=223).

2.9 Satisfaction with Attributes of Agency Service

Respondents were also asked to rate their satisfaction with these various aspects of service. Results reveal that the majority of clients are at least somewhat satisfied across all of the aspects examined. Respondents are most satisfied with the courtesy of staff (84 per cent very or somewhat satisfied), and the ease of dealing with staff (81 per cent very or somewhat satisfied). About three in four are satisfied with respect to the knowledge and competence of staff (75 per cent), the accuracy of the information provided (75 per cent), and the helpfulness of staff (79 per cent), staff accessibility (74 per cent), and clarity of information (77 per cent). Seven in ten are satisfied with the impartiality of staff (69 per cent). The time required to receive acknowledgment (65 per cent) and the time it took to resolve the matter (54 per cent) garnered the lowest levels of satisfaction.Note 2

Tracking reveals a decline over the past year in satisfaction levels across many of the aspects examined, particularly the time it took to resolve the client's issue (down nine per cent since 2012/2013), and the perceived impartiality of staff (down five points).

Satisfaction with Attributes of Agency Service
Satisfaction with Attributes of Agency Service

Long description

In terms of attributes of service, respondents are broadly satisfied; once again, courtesy of staff is a high point, and time to resolve the issue is area of lowest satisfaction.

This chart has 10 horizontal stacked bars, with a column total importance for 2013/2014, a column total satisfaction for 2012/2013, a column total satisfaction for 2011/2012; a column total satisfaction for 2010/2011; and a column total satisfaction for 2009/2010 on the side. On a scale of 4-5 points where 4 means somewhat satisfied and 5 means very satisfied.

Respondents were asked: What is your level of satisfaction with the following aspects of service from the Agency? Respondents selected:

  • "Courtesy of staff": very satisfied (68 per cent); somewhat satisfied (16 per cent); total satisfaction (84 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (87 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (92 per cent); total satisfaction in 2010/2011 (79 per cent); and total for 2009/2010 (93 per cent). [1]
  • "Staff were easy to deal with": very satisfied (65 per cent); somewhat satisfied (16 per cent); total satisfaction (81 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (83 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (89 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (69 per cent); and total for 2009/2010 (85 per cent).
  • "Knowledge and competence of staff": very satisfied (60 per cent); somewhat satisfied (16 per cent); total satisfaction (75 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (78 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (87 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (68 per cent); and total for 2009/2010 (79 per cent).
  • "Helpfulness of staff": very satisfied (59 per cent); somewhat satisfied (20 per cent); total satisfaction (79 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (80 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (86 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (68 per cent); and total for 2009/2010 (81 per cent).
  • "Staff were easily accessible": very satisfied (55 per cent); somewhat satisfied (19 per cent); total satisfaction (74 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (75 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (86 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (66 per cent); and total for 2009/2010 (85 per cent).
  • "The accuracy of any information provided": very satisfied (51 per cent); somewhat satisfied (24 per cent); total satisfaction (75 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (79 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (84 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (65 per cent); and total for 2009/2010 (81 per cent).
  • "Impartiality of staff": very satisfied (51 per cent); somewhat satisfied (18 per cent); total satisfaction (69 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (74 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (84 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (65 per cent); and total for 2009/2010 (76 per cent).
  • "The Agency provided me with information that as clear and easy to understand": very satisfied (49 per cent); somewhat satisfied (28 per cent); total satisfaction (77 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (74 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (82 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (67 per cent); and total for 2009/2010 (76 per cent).
  • "The time it took to acknowledge my issue"*: very satisfied (43 per cent); somewhat satisfied (22 per cent); total satisfaction (65 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (63 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (77 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (60 per cent); and total for 2009/2010 (78 per cent).
  • "The time it took to resolve the matter": very satisfied (36 per cent); somewhat satisfied (18 per cent); total satisfaction (54 per cent); total satisfaction in 2012/2013 (63 per cent); total satisfaction in 2011/2012 (71 per cent); total satisfaction for 2010/2011 (48 per cent); and total for 2009/2010 (63 per cent).

The base size is n=279.

The image includes a first note that "the time it takes to acknowledge my issue" was not asked of INSP, MED or NTD if matter brought by the other party.

2.10 Gap Analysis - Difference Between Satisfaction and Importance

As reported earlier, respondents were asked to rate the importance of various attributes of service, and then asked to rate their satisfaction in each of these areas. We conducted a gap analysis for each of these service attributes to help identify the areas most in need of attention. In conducting this analysis, we subtracted the proportion who indicated very satisfied across each of the attributes from the proportion who indicated the attribute was very important. The resulting number reflects areas where gaps exist between the priority of the issue relative to the satisfaction with this issue.

Results from this analysis reveal that gaps are most pronounced in terms of accuracy of information, clarity of information, and the knowledge and competence of staff, suggesting that these are the areas most in need of attention from the Agency.

Gap Analysis Difference Between Satisfaction and Importance
Gap Analysis - Difference Between Satisfaction and Importance

Long description

This chart has 10 single horizontal bars, and portrays a gap analysis of each service attribute, subtracting the proportion who indicated very satisfied across each of the attributes from the proportion who indicated the attribute was very important. The resulting number reflects areas where gaps exist between the priority of the issue relative to the satisfaction with this issue.

Gaps are largest in:

  • "Accuracy of any information provided" (minus 33 per cent);
  • "Agency provided me with information that is clear/easy to understand" (minus 24 cent);
  • "Knowledge and competence of staff" (minus 23 per cent);
  • "Impartiality of staff" (minus 21 per cent);
  • "The time it took to resolve the matter" (minus 21 per cent);
  • "Helpfulness of staff" (minus 18 per cent);
  • "Staff were easily accessible" (minus 18 per cent);
  • "Time it took to acknowledge my issue" (minus 16 per cent);
  • "Staff were easy to deal with" (minus 8 per cent); and
  • "Courtesy of staff" (0 per cent);

The base size is n=279.

2.11 Importance of Aspects of Service from the Agency

Respondents were also asked to indicate how important they found several specific aspects of their experience with service from the Agency on a scale of one to five, where one means not at all important, and five means very important. Subsequently, they were asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements about these aspects of service, using a five-point scale, where one is strongly disagree and five is strongly agree.

Results reveal that all aspects are seen as at least somewhat important by roughly eight in ten or more clients. Focusing on the "very important" responses only, results reveal that clients place the most importance on the fairness of treatment they receive (84 per cent see this as very important), and that their questions are answered (77 per cent rated this as very important). Three in four also feel that being informed of everything they need to do (76 per cent) and being told what the Agency can and cannot do (74 per cent) is very important. Having a variety of means to contact Agency staff is seen as relatively less important (only 49 per cent rate this as very important).

Importance of Aspects of Service from the Agency
Importance of Aspects of Service from the Agency

Long description

This chart has nine horizontal stacked bars, with a column total importance for 2013/2014, a column total importance for 2012/2013, and a column total importance for 2011/2012 on the side. On a scale of 4-5 points where 4 means somewhat important and 5 means very important.

Respondents were asked: How important do you consider each of the following aspects of service from the Agency? Respondents selected:

  • "Fairness of treatment": very important (84 per cent); somewhat important (10 per cent); total importance (94 per cent), total importance for 2012/2013 (95 per cent), for 2011/2012 (95 per cent);
  • "That all your questions are answered": very important (77 per cent); somewhat important (16 per cent); total importance (93 per cent), total importance for 2012/2013 (96 per cent), for 2011/2012 (94 per cent);
  • "That I am informed of everything that I have to do in order for the matter to be dealt with by the Agency": very important (76 per cent); somewhat important (18 per cent); total importance (94 per cent), total importance for 2012/2013 (94 per cent), for 2011/2012 (95 per cent);
  • "Being told what the Agency can and cannot do in dealing with your matter": very important (74 per cent); somewhat important (20 per cent); total importance (94 per cent), total importance for 2012/2013 (92 per cent), for 2011/2012 (92 per cent);
  • "Contact you have with the Agency is in the official language of my choice": very important (67 per cent); somewhat important (13 per cent); total importance (80 per cent), total importance for 2012/2013 (80 per cent), for 2011/2012 (77 per cent);
  • "That the Agency's forms are easy to complete": very important (64 per cent); somewhat important (23 per cent); total importance (87 per cent), total importance for 2012/2013 (90 per cent), for 2011/2012 (85 per cent);
  • "Quick response time from staff": very important (63 per cent); somewhat important (28 per cent); total importance (91 per cent), total importance for 2012/2013 (92 per cent), for 2011/2012 (88 per cent);
  • "That I gain a good understanding of the mandate and jurisdiction of the Agency": very important (60 per cent); somewhat important (27 per cent); total importance (87 per cent), total importance for 2012/2013 (88 per cent), for 2011/2012 (86 per cent);
  • "Having a variety of means to contact Agency staff": very important (49 per cent); somewhat important (29 per cent); total importance (78 per cent), total importance for 2012/2013 (78 per cent), for 2011/2012 (76 per cent).

The base is n=279.

2.12 Assessment of Various Aspects of Service

Clients were also asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements about these same aspects of service, using a scale of one to five, where one is strongly disagree and five is strongly agree.Note 3Across all of the statements, at least two in three respondents strongly or somewhat agreed (i.e., expressed satisfaction); however, results vary significantly when looking at the "strongly agree" responses only. Respondents most often agree that the contact they had with the Agency was in the official language of their choice (81 per cent strongly agree with this statement). Three in five strongly agree that they were informed of everything they had to do in order for their matter to be dealt with by the Agency (60 per cent), and that they were treated fairly (59 per cent). About half strongly agreed that the Agency let them know what they could do in dealing with their matter (56 per cent), that all their questions were answered (52 per cent); and that they gained a good understanding of the mandate of the Agency (50 per cent). Just under half strongly agreed that staff responded quickly (48 per cent), that the Agency's forms were easy to complete (46 per cent), and that they were offered a variety of means of contacting Agency staff (46 per cent).Note 4

Tracking reveals a decline in agreement with some of these statements over the past year, particularly in terms of staff responding quickly, and having a variety of means of contacting the Agency.

Assessment of Various Aspects of Service
Assessment of Various Aspects of Service

Long description

This chart has nine horizontal stacked bars with a column total agreement for 2013/2014, a column total agreement for 2012/2013; a column total agreement for 2011/2012; a column total agreement for 2010/2011; and a column total agreement for 2009/2010 on the side. On a scale of 4-5 points where 4 means somewhat agree and 5 means strongly agree.

Respondents were asked: Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements about aspects of service from the Agency? Respondents selected: [2]

  • "The contact I had with the Agency was in the official language of my choice": strongly agree (81 per cent); somewhat agree (11 per cent); total agreement (92 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (86 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (95 per cent); in 2010/2011 (92 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (96 per cent).
  • "I was informed of everything I had to do in order for the matter to be dealt with by the Agency": strongly agree (60 per cent); somewhat agree (21 per cent); total agreement (81 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (81 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (83 per cent); in 2010/2011 (75 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (84 per cent).
  • "I was treated fairly": strongly agree (59 per cent); somewhat agree (14 per cent); total agreement (73 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (76 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (85 per cent); in 2010/2011 (69 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (85 per cent).
  • "The Agency let me know what they could do in dealing with the matter": strongly agree (56 per cent); somewhat agree (23 per cent); total agreement (79 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (73 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (81 per cent); in 2010/2011 (76 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (82 per cent).
  • "I felt that all my questions were answered": strongly agree (52 per cent); somewhat agree (21 per cent); total agreement (73 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (74 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (77 per cent); no per cent in 2010/2011 and 2009/2010.
  • "I gained a good understanding of the mandate and jurisdiction of the Agency": strongly agree (50 per cent); somewhat agree (22 per cent); total agreement (72 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (70 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (78 per cent); no per cent in 2010/2011 and 2009/2010.
  • "Staff responded quickly": strongly agree (48 per cent); somewhat agree (20 per cent); total agreement (68 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (75 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (82 per cent); in 2010/2011 (64 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (87 per cent).
  • "The Agency's forms were easy to complete": strongly agree (46 per cent); somewhat agree (27 per cent); total agreement (73 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (69 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (80 per cent); in 2010/2011 (76 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (80 per cent).
  • "I was offered a variety of means of contacting Agency staff": strongly agree (46 per cent); somewhat agree (20 per cent); total agreement (66 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (73 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (77 per cent); in 2010/2011 (74 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (86 per cent).

The base is n=279.

2.13 Gap Analysis - Difference Between Satisfaction and Importance

As with the previous service attributes questions, we conducted a gap analysis for these service aspects to help identify the areas most in need of attention. Again, we subtracted the proportion who indicated very satisfied across each of the aspects from the proportion who indicated the aspect was very important. The resulting number reflects areas where gaps exist between the priority of the issue relative to the satisfaction with this issue.

Results from this analysis reveal that gaps are most pronounced in terms of questions being answered, and fairness of treatment, suggesting that these are the areas most in need of attention from the Agency.

Gap Analysis - Difference Between Satisfaction and Importance
Gap Analysis - Difference Between Satisfaction and Importance

Long description

This chart has nine single horizontal bars, and portrays a gap analysis of each service attribute, subtracting the proportion who indicated very satisfied across each of the attributes from the proportion who indicated the attribute was very important. The resulting number reflects areas where gaps exist between the priority of the issue relative to the satisfaction with this issue.

Gaps are largest in:

  • "I felt that all my questions were answered" (minus 25 per cent);
  • "I was treated fairly" (minus 25 per cent);
  • "Agency let me know what they could do in dealing with my matter" (minus 18 per cent);
  • "Agency's forms were easy to complete" (minus 18 per cent);
  • "Gained a good understanding of mandate/jurisdiction of Agency" (minus 16 per cent);
  • "I was informed of everything I had to do in order for the matter to be dealt with by the Agency" (minus 16 per cent);
  • "Staff responded quickly" (minus 15 per cent);
  • "I was offered a variety of means of contacting Agency staff" (minus 3 per cent);
  • "Contact I had with the Agency was in official language of my choice" (14 per cent);

The base size is n=279.

2.14 Views on Agency Process

Respondents were asked whether or not they agreed with a number of statements about Agency processes, using a scale of one to five, where one is strongly disagree and five is strongly agree.

Four in five respondents agree that the Agency made clear the information required for submission (82 per cent), and three in four felt that the process was carried out in a professional manner (74 per cent). About two in three agree the Agency's process was clearly explained to them (69 per cent), that the final outcome was easy to understand (68 per cent), and that they had enough opportunity to present their case (67 per cent). Fewer than six in ten, however, feel that the process was impartial (53 per cent), or that they had enough opportunity to respond to the other party's point of view (52 per cent).Note 5

Comparing these results to those found last year reveals a decrease in agreement across many of the areas examined, particularly with respect to impartiality, having enough opportunity to respond to the other party's point of view, the Agency's process being clearly explained, and the process being conducted in a professional manner.

Views on Agency Process
Views on Agency Process

Long description

This chart has seven horizontal stacked bars, with a total agreement (agree 4-5) column for 2012/2013, 2011/2012, 2010/2011, and 2009/2010 on the side. On a scale of 5 points where 1-2 means disagree, 3 means neither, and 4-5 means agree.

Respondents were asked: Please rate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each of the following statements about this process. Respondents selected: [3]

  • "The Agency made it clear what information I was required to submit": agree (82 per cent); neither (7 per cent); disagree (10 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (81 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (84 per cent); in 2010/2011 (73 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (71 per cent).
  • "The process was conducted in a professional manner": agree (74 per cent); neither (10 per cent); disagree (17 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (79 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (84 per cent); in 2010/2011 (71 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (81 per cent).
  • "The Agency's process was clearly explained to me": agree (69 per cent); neither (13 per cent); disagree (18 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (74 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (81 per cent); in 2010/2011 (70 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (75 per cent).
  • "Final outcome was clear and easy to understand": agree (68 per cent); neither (8 per cent); disagree (23 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (67 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (76 per cent); in 2010/2011 (58 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (68 per cent).
  • "I had enough of an opportunity to present my case": agree (67 per cent); neither (13 per cent); disagree (20 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (71 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (77 per cent); in 2010/2011 (69 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (71 per cent).
  • "The process followed was impartial": agree (53 per cent); neither (18 per cent); disagree (28 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (58 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (73 per cent); in 2010/2011 (66 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (67 per cent).
  • "Had enough of an opportunity to respond to the other party's view": agree (52 per cent); neither (16 per cent); disagree (33 per cent); total agreement in 2012/2013 (57 per cent); total agreement in 2011/2012 (63 per cent); in 2010/2011 (67 per cent); and for 2009/2010 (67 per cent).

The base size is n=206.

Note: Asked only of FAC, ADJ and NTD.

2.15 The Agency's Website

Clients were also asked a number of questions about the Agency's website. Respondents were asked if they had ever visited the Agency's website. Over nine in ten (92 per cent) indicate that they have visited the Agency's website (although this is down three percentage points since 2012/2013).

Among those who visited this website, one in three (37 per cent) said they had visited the Agency's website within the past three months, and roughly the same proportion (36 per cent) visited the website between three and six months ago.

The Agency's Website
The Agency's Website

Long description

Nine in ten indicate that they have visited the Agency's website, four in ten within the last three months.

These two charts have two and five tracking horizontal bars, each chart with a bar for 2013/2014, 2012/2013 and 2011/2012.

LEFT CHART: Respondents were asked: Have you ever visited the Agency's website? Respondents selected:

  • "Yes" (92 per cent); 95 per cent for 2012/2013; 89 per cent for 2011/2012;
  • "No" (6 per cent); 5 per cent for 2012/2013; 11 per cent for 2011/2012.

The base size is n=279.

RIGHT CHART: Respondents who have visited the Agency's website were asked: [IF YES] How recently did you visit the Agency's website?

Respondents selected:

  • "Within the past three months" (37 per cent); 49 per cent for 2012/2013; 46 per cent for 2011/2012;
  • "Between three and six months ago" (36 per cent); 32 per cent for 2012/2013; 31 per cent for 2011/2012;
  • "Between six months and a year ago" (21 per cent); 13 per cent for 2012/2013; 16 per cent for 2011/2012;
  • "More than a year ago" (4 per cent); 3 per cent for 2012/2013; 4 per cent for 2011/2012;
  • "Don't know/not sure" (2 per cent); 2 per cent for 2012/2013; 3 per cent for 2011/2012.

The base size is n=258.

2.16 Satisfaction with the Agency's Website

Those who visited the Agency's website were also asked about their satisfaction with the website. Roughly six in ten indicate that the website had the information they were looking for (62 per cent – up one percentage point since 2012/2013), and that it was easy to find information they needed on the website (61 per cent – up seven percentage points over the past year), and that the information on the website was easy to understand (60 per cent – down one percentage point since 2012/2013).

Looking at perceptions of the Agency's website since 2009/2010, results reveal that satisfaction with the website has been quite varied over the past five years: across all three of these questions, satisfaction levels worsened between 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, improved in 2011/2012, and then worsened again in 2012/2013. As indicated earlier, satisfaction with the website has remained largely consistent between 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 in terms of having the needed information and understanding the information, however, perceptions regarding the ease of finding information has improved by seven percentage points.

Satisfaction with the Agency's Website (1)
Satisfaction with the Agency's Website (1)

Long description

This chart has three horizontal stacked bars, each with a column representing total satisfaction (4-5) for 2012/2013, 2011/2012, 2010/2011, and 2009/2010 on the side. On a scale of 5 points where 1-2 means dissatisfied, 3 means neither, and 4-5 means satisfied.

Respondents who have visited the Agency's website were asked: Please indicate the response that best describes your level of satisfaction with the following aspects of service from the Agency's website. Respondents selected:

  • "The Agency's website had the information I was looking for" for 2013/2014, satisfied (62 per cent), neither (26 per cent), dissatisfied (10 per cent); for 2012/2013, satisfied (61 per cent); for 2011/2012, satisfied (70 per cent); for 2010/2011, satisfied (63 per cent); and for 2009/2010, satisfied (73 per cent);
  • "It was easy to find information I needed on the website" for 2013/2014, satisfied (61 per cent), neither (24 per cent), dissatisfied (13 per cent); for 2012/2013, satisfied (54 per cent); for 2011/2012, satisfied (65 per cent); for 2010/2011, satisfied (52 per cent); and for 2009/2010, satisfied (72 per cent);
  • "The information on the website was easy to understand" for 2013/2014, satisfied (60 per cent), neither (26 per cent), dissatisfied (12 per cent); for 2012/2013 satisfied (61 per cent); for 2011/2012, satisfied (70 per cent); for 2010/2011, satisfied (57 per cent); and for 2009/2010, satisfied (75 per cent).

The base size is n=258.

The survey also included a series of new questions examining satisfaction with the Agency's website. Results reveal that two-thirds feel the Agency's website is accessible (68 per cent), and that the information on the website is useful (65 per cent). A further six in ten feel that the Agency's website is easy to navigate (61 per cent).

Satisfaction with the Agency's Website (2)
Satisfaction with the Agency's Website (2)

Long description

This chart has three horizontal stacked bars. On a scale of 5 points where 1-2 means dissatisfied, 3 means neither, and 4-5 means satisfied.

Respondents who have visited the Agency's website were asked: Please indicate the response that best describes your level of satisfaction with the following aspects of service from the Agency's website. Respondents selected:

  • "The Agency's website was accessible" for 2013/2014, satisfied (68 per cent), neither (22 per cent), dissatisfied (5 per cent).
  • "The information was useful" for 2013/2014, satisfied (65 per cent), neither (23 per cent), dissatisfied (9 per cent).
  • "The Agency's website was easy to navigate" for 2012/2013, satisfied (61 per cent), neither (25 per cent), dissatisfied (10 per cent).

The base size is n=258.

2.17 Interacting with the Agency

Clients were asked how they became aware of the Agency. Just under half (47 per cent) mention a web search as their source of awareness, while about one in seven say that they heard about the Agency from a friend/family member (15 per cent) or that they already knew of the Agency (12 per cent).

Tracking reveals that the proportion of respondents who indicated they became aware of the Agency through a web search and through a friend/family member has increased over the past year. Conversely, the proportion who indicated they already knew about the Agency has decreased since 2012/2013.

Interacting with the Agency
Interacting with the Agency

Long description

Nearly two in five respondents learned about the Agency by searching the Web.

This chart has 14 single horizontal bars with a column for 2012/2013 and 2011/2012 on the side.

Respondents were asked: How did you become aware of the Canadian Transportation Agency? [Open] Respondents selected:

  • Web search (47 per cent); for 2012/2013 (40 per cent); for 2011/2012 (39 per cent);
  • Friend/family member (15 per cent); for 2012/2013 (5 per cent); for 2011/2012 (10 per cent);
  • Already knew about Agency (12 per cent); for 2012/2013 (27 per cent); for 2011/2012 (24 per cent);
  • Another government department (8 per cent); for 2012/2013 (10 per cent); for 2011/2012 (12 per cent);
  • Transportation service provider (7 per cent); for 2012/2013 (13 per cent); for 2011/2012 (12 per cent);
  • Had previous contact with the Agency (4 per cent); for 2012/2013 (14 per cent); for 2011/2012 (13 per cent);
  • Social media channels (4 per cent); not mentioned in 2012/2013 and 2011/2012;
  • Travel agent (4 per cent); for 2012/2013 (2 per cent); for 2011/2012 (3 per cent);
  • Newspaper article (3 per cent); for 2012/2013 (2 per cent); for 2011/2012 (2 per cent);
  • 1-800 OCANADA/ government (1 per cent); for 2012/2013 (1 per cent); for 2011/2012 (3 per cent);
  • Have made complaint(s) to Agency before (1 per cent); for 2012/2013 (3 per cent); for 2011/2012 (1 per cent);
  • An association (2 per cent); for 2012/2013 (1 per cent); for 2011/2012 (3 per cent);
  • Other (1 per cent); for 2012/2013 (9 per cent); for 2011/2012 (3 per cent);
  • Don't know/not sure (1 per cent); for 2012/2013 (1 per cent); for 2011/2012 (2 per cent).

The base size is n=279.

2.18 Source of Information about the Agency

Respondents were also asked which method they used to get information about the Agency during the course of their interaction with the Agency. The method identified most often to obtain information about the Agency is email (73 per cent), followed by the Agency's website (59 per cent).

Tracking reveals that results are largely consistent with those found in 2011/2012 in terms of email and the Agency website; however, the use of telephone (from 57 per cent in 2011/2012 to 40 per cent currently), regular mail (from 15 per cent in 2011/2012 to 7 per cent currently) and fax (from 8 per cent in 2011/2012 to 4 per cent currently) as sources of information about the Agency continue to decline.

Source of Information about the Agency
Source of Information about the Agency

Long description

E-mail, the Agency's website, and telephone are most often used to obtain information about the Agency.

This chart has five single tracking horizontal bars with a bar representing 2013/2014, a bar representing 2012/2013, a bar representing 2011/ 2012, a bar representing 2010/ 2011, and a bar representing 2009/2010 for each category.

Respondents were asked: In the course of your interaction with the agency, which of the following did you use to get information about the Agency? Respondents selected:

  • In 2013/2014, e-mail (73 per cent); the Agency's website (59 per cent); telephone (40 per cent); regular mail (7 per cent); and fax (4 per cent).
  • In 2012/2013, e-mail (73 per cent); the Agency's website (58 per cent); telephone (46 per cent); regular mail (13 per cent); and fax (5 per cent).
  • In 2011/2012, e-mail (72 per cent); the Agency's website (61 per cent); telephone (57 per cent); regular mail (15 per cent); and fax (8 per cent).
  • In 2010/2011, respondents selected: e-mail (72 per cent); the Agency's website (56 per cent); telephone (63 per cent); regular mail (18 per cent); and fax (9 per cent).
  • In 2009/2010, respondents selected: e-mail (69 per cent); the Agency's website (47 per cent); telephone (54 per cent); regular mail (21 per cent); and fax (12 per cent).

The base size is n=279.

2.19 Preferred Source of Information About the Agency

Clients were then asked which method they would most prefer to use to get information about the Agency. Just under half indicated email (49 per cent, up seven per cent since 2012/2013), and four in ten indicated the Agency website (39 per cent, down two points since 2012/2013). Only about one in ten (eight per cent) indicate a preference for telephone, down seven per cent since 2012/2013.

Preferred Source of Information About the Agency
Preferred Source of Information About the Agency

Long description

Most respondents would prefer to use e-mail to obtain information about the Agency, followed by the Agency's website

This chart has four single tracking horizontal bars with a bar representing 2013/2014, a bar representing 2012/2013, and a bar representing 2011/ 2012 for each category.

Respondents were asked: Which one of the following ways would you most prefer to use in order to get information about Agency? Respondents selected:

  • E-mail (49 per cent); for 2012/2013 (42 per cent); for 2011/2012 (46 per cent);
  • The Agency's website (39 per cent); for 2012/2013 (41 per cent); for 2011/2012 (31 per cent);
  • Telephone (8 per cent); for 2012/2013 (15 per cent); for 2011/2012 (18 per cent);
  • Regular mail (1 per cent); for 2012/2013 (2 per cent); for 2011/2012 (3 per cent).

The base size is n=279.

2.20 Additional comments – Satisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency

When asked to provide additional comments about the Agency and/or its services, those satisfied with the service they received mention excellent service (in general) most often (27 per cent, up from 16 per cent last year). Half of satisfied respondents (49 per cent) had no additional comments.

Additional comments – Satisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency
Additional comments – Satisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency

Long description

This chart has six single horizontal bars.

Respondents were asked: Do you have additional comments about the Agency and/or its services? [Open] It displays results among those reporting satisfaction with the Agency. Respondents selected:

  • "Excellent service" (27 per cent);
  • "Should be faster/reduce backlog" (5 per cent);
  • "Educate public as to what they do/do not do" (3 per cent);
  • "Should have more authority/jurisdiction" (3 per cent);
  • "Other" (2 per cent);
  • "Don't know/no response" (49 per cent);

The base size is n=203.

2.21 Additional comments – Dissatisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency

Among those who report overall dissatisfaction with the Agency's service, many felt that the Agency is biased (24 per cent, up 6 per cent since last year), that it should have more authority/ jurisdiction (14 per cent), or that nothing was done to address their issue (14 per cent). Over one in three dissatisfied respondents (35 per cent) provided no comment.

Additional comments – Dissatisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency
Additional comments – Dissatisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency

Long description

This chart has six single horizontal bars.

Respondents were asked: Do you have additional comments about the Agency and/or its services? [Open] It displays Results among those reporting dissatisfaction with the Agency. Respondents selected:

  • "Agency is biased/corrupt/ineffective" (24 per cent);
  • "Nothing was done/should be more effort" (14 per cent);
  • "Should have authority/jurisdiction" (14 per cent);
  • "Should be faster/reduce backlog" (6 per cent);
  • "Other" (2 per cent);
  • "Don't know/no response" (35 per cent);

The base size is n=49.

The table below provides a breakdown of the survey universe (representing the total number of clients within each audience type), the number of online and paper-based surveys administered, and the resulting number of completed surveys and participation rates.

This image is a table with seven columns and four rows. The first row contains the column titles: FAC; ADJ; NTD; MED; LIC/INSP; and Totals.

  • For row two: Complete: 193; 11; 2, 22; 51, 279
  • For row three: Sent: 496; 16; 9; 39; 200; 764
  • For row four: Response Rate (%): 39%; 69%; 22%; 56%; 26%; 37%
Additional comments – Dissatisfaction with Quality of Service from Agency
FAADJNTDMEDLIC/INSPTotals
Complete 193 11 2 22 51 279
Sent 496 16 9 39 200 764
Response Rate (%) 39% 69% 22% 56% 26% 37%

 

3. Detailed Findings - Qualitative

In this section, we present findings of the qualitative research in support of Agency's 2013/2014 Client Satisfaction Survey. Issues examined include areas of satisfaction with the Agency, issues related specifically to dispute resolution, and findings specific to the industries or interest groups consulted. Throughout this report, comparisons to the 2009/2010 and 2011/2012 stakeholder interviews are discussed whenever possible.

3.1 Satisfaction With the Agency

A) Dialogue and Communication

In general, and consistent with findings from 2009/2010 and 2011/2012, most Agency stakeholders are satisfied with the opportunities for effective dialogue, beyond day-to-day interactions, with the Agency. The Agency and staff are viewed as being very open and willing to engage in conversation. The Agency is seen by most stakeholders as having an "open door policy" to accept contact by stakeholders on any matters of concern. To explain the importance of dialogue with the Agency, one client stated that "we know we can always call the Agency; we're never blind-sided by any decisions they make". This last point is in contrast to findings from the 2011/2012 interviews where a lack of consultation from Agency personnel was noted when issues that would affect policy and processes were emerging.

B) Consultative Process

Stakeholders feel that the Agency proactively seeks out opportunities to dialogue, and a few noted that the Agency is continuing to improve proactive dialogue by engaging in site visits with stakeholders. Site visits were praised by stakeholders in the 2011/2012 interviews and were suggested as an area to continue to build on to improve relationships and understanding of the industries. One client pointed to the Client Satisfaction Surveys as an example of proactive activities to understand the needs of stakeholders.

Most stakeholders indicate that the good relationship and effective dialogue with the Agency has remained consistent over the past year or two. A few indicate that the site visits by Agency staff is an improvement in promoting dialogue and understanding the client activities. However, a few other stakeholders perceive that there has been a negative change in terms of the Agency being less productive and timely, or with new Agency staff being less helpful or less knowledgeable of the industries involved. Issues related to new staff were also noted in the 2011/2012 interviews in terms of "institutional memory loss" and the need to build new relationships.

C) Agency Staff

Most stakeholders indicate that they interact frequently with all branches of the Agency, while some indicate that their organization's relationship with the Agency is sporadic or on an as-needed basis. Regardless of the level of interaction, and consistent with findings in the previous two cycles of stakeholder interviews, most stakeholders are satisfied with the working relationship between their organization and Agency staff. The majority of stakeholders indicate that Agency staff are very approachable and that there is a "healthy and robust relationship" between their organization and the Agency. Stakeholders feel that they can approach the Agency at any time with questions, concerns, or assistance on interpretation of decisions. As noted by some stakeholders, the relationship is collaborative, with one client articulating that there is "a lot of correspondence and exchange of ideas". Overall, staff are typically described as collegial and professional.

However, a few stakeholders indicated that the relationship with the Agency staff can vary by the type of interaction. These stakeholders feel that they may not always see "eye to eye" on the Agency requirements or decisions or that client concerns are not always addressed. As articulated by one individual, "Agency staff really listen and try to understand issues at meetings, but after meetings things don't seem to change".

3.2 Dispute Resolution

The Agency interviewed stakeholders who were involved in four types of approaches to resolving disputes: Facilitation, Mediation, Final Offer Arbitration, and Adjudication. Client feedback on their experience with each of these approaches is described in this section.

Facilitation

Similar to 2011/2012 findings, most stakeholders are satisfied with the facilitation process and describe the process as fair. However, as noted by one client, facilitation is a process that is expected to be fair. Most stakeholders who were able to provide comment on this dispute resolution option indicate that the majority of cases involving facilitation come to a resolution where both sides are satisfied. The facilitation process is noted to be relatively efficient and inexpensive. One client described the process as "the quickest way to get to the heart of the matter and speak freely about the challenges and issues". Few recommendations for improvement were suggested by stakeholders; as articulated by one respondent, "this process works so well that I don't have any suggestions for improvements". On the other hand, two stakeholders remarked that facilitation allows no confidentiality, and thus can be unattractive to those who wish to have more protection over their position.

While the facilitation process is largely deemed fair and efficient, the satisfaction with the role of the Agency in facilitation was mixed. A few stakeholders feel that the Agency does not have an active role in the process. As articulated by one client, "there is not a lot of value in what the Agency provides here, in most times we settle it directly with the consumer". A few other stakeholders, however, felt that the Agency served as "diplomats" to "carry a conversation" between the two parties.

Mediation

As another informal dispute resolution process, most stakeholders indicate that mediation is a cost effective, efficient, and fair alternative to formal dispute resolution. However, several stakeholders with experience in the mediation process indicate frustration with the mediators. Some mediators are not seen as properly trained on the role of a mediator, or on the industries involved. These mediators are described by stakeholders as "passive". As articulated by one client, "there are some mediators that do not give value. It is often a bit of a futile exercise where the mediator is present and both parties do the work themselves". Another stakeholder said, "Mediators could do more to facilitate the process. Some are very good at moving the subject matter along to come up with a solution, drawing out ideas, while others simply sit and listen." The passivity of mediators was also mentioned in the 2011/2012 interviews, at the time a new issue as previous interviews in 2009/2010 revealed that mediators were praised by stakeholders. One client expressed optimism that a new change in staffing could revive the mediation process to offer trained and active mediators.

A second area of concern presented by a few stakeholders is that through the mediation process, one side's position has become exposed, jeopardizing the outcome. This was noted by some shipping and rail stakeholders as a reason for reluctance to make use of the mediation process.

Final Offer Arbitration (FOA)

FOA is used in certain cases to resolve a dispute specifically between commercial shippers, railways, and transit authorities. As found in previous interview sessions, stakeholders regard the FOA process as one that is an important and necessary option if the disputed matter is large enough to warrant the cost that the FOA process demands. Most stakeholders who commented on this option note that this can be a very expensive process with significant legal costs and "literally millions of dollars being decided".

As was found in the 2011/2012 interviews, most shipping and railway stakeholders indicate the process works well, although one stakeholder noted that there could be "better selection of qualified referees".

Formal Dispute Resolution (Adjudication)

Most stakeholders who commented on this option describe adjudication as the most drawn out and expensive of dispute resolution options and, therefore, the least desirable approach. That said, stakeholders indicate that adjudication is a "powerful tool" and useful for big cases and for instances where facilitation or mediation fail.

However, many railway and air stakeholders express concern with the fairness of decisions. These stakeholders feel the Agency needs to improve the balance and fairness of the final dispute resolution process, particularly by making adjudicators and technical staff more knowledgeable of the industries. As with the concerns on the training of mediators, some stakeholders indicate that adjudicators do not have appropriate legal training and that technical staff are not adequately trained. For example, one rail stakeholder indicated that "the process seems unprofessional with poorly worded, confusing decisions being written. Agency is ill-equipped to fulfill its mandate as an administrative tribunal. It does not apply a rigorous adjudicative process". Another rail stakeholder indicates that poorly trained staff has resulted in complainants being coached, resulting in an unfair process.

Air stakeholders indicate that there has been a change in the past few years in terms of the direction of decisions with the Agency having "a very pro-consumer point of view which is not appropriate for what is to be a third party judicial body". This is in contrast to the 2011/2012 findings where many stakeholders felt decisions were sometimes biased to the major carriers because they were better resourced.

Most air stakeholders note a focused approach by one individual to use previous decisions to make complaints against other carrier's tariff provisions, despite not having been a customer of the airline. Most air stakeholders indicate that the Agency should have a responsibility to ensure that an individual in the dispute resolution process has a material complaint, as the impact of one decision has broader implications. Rail stakeholders likewise feel that the adjudication process is unfair, presenting an evidential burden on rail companies but requiring little evidential proof from complainants other than a letter or written statement. However, there may have been some progress made to address this issue: according to one stakeholder, "The Agency is pushing back by requesting more complete files, which is an improvement. Before, anyone could write a two liner and the process would start and the onus would be on the carrier to prove it wasn't so".

A few railway stakeholders indicate that there are jurisdictional challenges with decisions by the Agency. As expressed by one client, "the Agency does not seem to have a good understanding of the impact of its decisions, for example, the Agency will order crossings and Transport Canada will take them down because they think they are unsafe. Thus we are stuck between two regulators".

A few stakeholders express concerns with the way adjudication proceeds. One client indicates that in recent years the process does not seem fair as "they are not applying the basic rules of evidence - giving one day turnaround on a request". This client attributes this process challenge to a lack of legal training. Another client indicates that "the Agency has decided to shorten systematically the delays that are provided in the laws. The intent of the law is to do this when needed, but this is done systematically. They have us hurry to provide detailed submissions and yet they then make us wait on the decisions for an unreasonable amount of time in comparison with the amount of time they gave us".

3.3. Agency's Role as an Economic Regulator

One of the three mandates of the Agency is economic regulation. These activities include providing approvals, issuing licenses, permits and certificates of fitness, and making decisions on a range of matters involving federal air, rail and marine transportationNote 6. The majority of stakeholders who were able to provide comment on this aspect of the Agency indicate that it plays a role as an economic regulator by controlling market entry through licensing; acting as an administrative tribunal; and managing complaints about market conduct.

While licencing is most often noted as the Agency's strongest influence as an economic regulator, other issues were also identified. A few point to dispute resolution decisions as having economic impacts on an industry; at times in "a skewed way" such as when Agency processes are asking for a more stringent burden of proof on the industry than on the complainant. The Maximum Revenue Entitlement (MRE) and economic evaluation of rail lines are considered by one rail respondent as ways the Agency serves an economic regulatory function. Some shippers identify the Agency's economic regulatory role as stemming from its ability to handle price-related complaints between railways and shippers.

3.4 Industry Specific Business Practices and Processes

A) Accessible Transportation

Accessibility Advisory Committee

Stakeholders representing the stakeholders with accessibility concerns all cited participation on the Accessibility Advisory Committee as their primary and most important interaction with the Agency. The interaction through this committee can involve e-mail and telephone exchanges to discuss transportation needs and issues, and solicit input on policy. Stakeholders state that there is "more information being shared in this manner and more opportunities for participation; overall a positive experience". Most stakeholders indicate that they are appreciative of the opportunities to consult on special issues that have arisen to revise the rules and regulations within the transportation industry and that the Agency "tries to hear all voices". This is consistent with findings from previous interview sessions in which stakeholders expressed very positive views about the Accessibility Advisory Committee.

The interaction with the Agency can also include attendance at meetings, although some stakeholders state that there have been notably fewer face-to-face meetings in recent years. As was found in the 2011/2012 interviews, the lack of meetings is noted as a problem by these stakeholders, because "the longer the gap between meetings, the less cohesion". Others indicated that, given the range of accessibility concerns to accommodate during meetings (including varying degrees of hearing and visual impairment, "sometimes things get skewed in the translation".

In terms of interaction between groups with accessibility concerns and the Agency, arranging more frequent meetings of the Accessibility Advisory Committee is noted by most stakeholders as an area of improvement for the Agency. In addition, most stakeholders indicate that while they appreciate the opportunity to provide input on a policy, new rule or regulation, these stakeholders would like to understand if and how their input was integrated in the final product. For example, one stakeholder noted being consulted by the Agency on the communication code of practice, however there has not been any follow-up or communication by the Agency in the six months following this contact.

Many stakeholders with accessibility concerns point to a lack of clear policy when it comes to disability and travelling; rather, issues are addressed "on a case-by-case basis" or "left to individual judgement". The majority of stakeholders state that there should be a "book of practice" that would outline clear rules and policies for transporters which would limit conflicting situations and challenges. Another area of improvement, noted by most stakeholders, is for the Agency to ensure that all Agency publications and the website are adapted to special needs (i.e., simplified text, large print).

Some of these stakeholders would like the Agency to take a stronger role in addressing the transportation needs of those with accessibility concerns, including a requirement for material adapted for special needs extended to the transporters. A few noted the need for more consistent training of carrier employees to accommodate the needs of those with accessibility concerns. These stakeholders indicate that training can be inconsistent or not appropriately implemented, and therefore feel that there should be Agency monitoring of carrier training on accessibility issues (interestingly, one stakeholder for marine interests stated that they would like to receive training on accessibility and codes of practice more frequently). A few stakeholders would like the Agency to create greater links between the provincial and national jurisdictions to enable standardized policy to ensure a more fluid transportation experience for handicapped people. This involves the notion of "chain of mobility" where the policies for handicapped people would be the same for all methods of transportation. One client indicated that the Agency should ensure that no carrier can determine whether a person with a disability is capable of travelling. Finally, one stakeholder notes that those with accessibility concerns, and those organizations supporting the individuals, are challenged with having limited resources for activities such as forwarding complaints and filing documents; perceived as putting them at a disadvantage compared to the resources of the transportation companies. This stakeholder says that while the Agency does have a longer-term staff member that is very helpful to support this issue, staff turnover and the bureaucracy of the Agency are noted as challenges in helping navigate and address accessibility concerns.

B) Shipping and Railway Industry

Interviews were conducted with five stakeholders belonging to two railway companies and five stakeholders representing shipping associations whose members primarily use rail carriers to transport their goods. The viewpoints of railway companies and shippers are often at odds with each other: according to one shipping client, "the Agency is the last line of protection between shippers and railways", effectively summing up this relationship. Rail stakeholders largely conveyed a sense of unfairness and a perception that the Agency does not fully understand the realities of the rail industry, while shippers conveyed a generally more positive take on their relationship with the Agency. Some shipper associations had very general awareness of the Agency, as individual shippers tend to make use of the Agency's services more so than the association.

All stakeholders in rail who were interviewed feel that they have previously had a good relationship with the Agency, but in recent years this has been hampered by a lack of clarity with respect to its mandate and jurisdiction, particularly due to changes to section 98 of the Act. As a result of these changes, environmental assessment for new construction of rail lines is no longer performed by the Agency, however, some stakeholders feel that the Agency "has struggled with giving up this role".

Both rail and shipping stakeholders expressed positive reviews of the Agency's executive leadership, saying this has improved in recent years. However, rail stakeholders feel the Agency lacks expertise in handling rail issues, and most fear that the most experienced staff who best understand the industry are being lost. Rail stakeholders characterize the Agency as limited in its understanding of the rail industry and the nuances of its market. For example, one stakeholder says that:

The Agency often makes decisions like they would for the air industry, when in fact the client base is very different. The Agency deals often with complaints by customers who complain of overbooking, while the rail companies deal with a very different market. The Agency seems to want to protect the shippers like an airline customer, but the shippers have the same ability and legal staff as the rail companies. The way decisions are rendered is not market-based.

However, shipping stakeholders pointed out that many or most of their members are small businesses with very limited financial capacity to engage lawyers while undertaking a proceeding against rail companies.

A few rail stakeholders expressed the view that tribunal decisions have been made in a "poorly-worded" and "confusing" manner. In some cases, decisions are said to be vague and require clarification later on, leading to mistrust and administrative burden on the part of these organizations' legal counsel. Some rail stakeholders feel that the poor quality of decisions (lack of clarity, confusion) is leading to more appeals. These concerns about lack of expertise are not shared by shippers – in fact, shipping stakeholders indicate that they would like to see the Agency do more to educate the shipping community about its services and dispute resolution mechanisms, as shippers have limited awareness and limited capacity to learn the details on their own.

Both rail and shippers perceive some passivity on the part of the Agency. Rail stakeholders feel the Agency relies too much on processes, making it passive rather than proactive in handling problems: "There's an over emphasis on process, leading to decisions that are lacking substance." Interestingly, despite this perception that the Agency relies too much on processes, some rail stakeholders feel that the Agency does not follow some processes enough, such as a minimum number of days for response. In contrast, shippers feel that the Agency is held back by its limited ability to enforce its rulings, and should be more active in raising issues about its jurisdiction, and in "standing up for the original intent" of regulations.

Specific areas where railway company stakeholders feel the Agency is performing well include the MRE (characterized as usable and predictable); financial, accounting and costing matters (including cost of capital), grain-related issues, and cost of capital methodology review. This is consistent with 2011/2012 interview findings in which the MRE for grain transport process was seen as improving, and the cost of capital methodology review was also seen as improving from the previous round of interviews in 2009/2010.

Areas where concerns were expressed include the following:

Line Construction

Some rail stakeholders mentioned that the recent change from requiring formal environmental assessment by the Agency for any new line construction has caused some confusion and redundancy. "The Agency needs to synchronize its mandate with the current government mandate"; "The fact that the Agency is asking us to resubmit [environmental considerations] to them is a redundant activity. It increases administrative burden for us, and contradicts the government's goal of streamlining things."

This finding is in contrast to previous interview sessions where the line construction team was commended for its collaborative spirit.

Level of Service, Proximity, Noise and Vibration Complaints

Rail stakeholders feel that an unfair burden is placed on rail companies to refute complaints that are often incomplete and missing evidence. Rail stakeholders feel it is too easy for complaints to be registered, with much work required by the rail companies. "Anyone can call and make a complaint and the Agency takes it at face value. It really questions the role of the adjudicator." These issues have led to rulings which the rail industry finds "unrealistic", and insensitive to the realities of their industry. According to one stakeholder, "The onus should be on the applicant" filing the complaint. One client feels that the Agency rules against rail because it does not have a clear understanding of the industry: "It is very easy to distrust something that you don't understand and this is the key to the Agency's adjudication of service complaints". Some stakeholders suggests these matters could be better triaged by Agency, with the Agency being able to "say no" to some complaints that don't hold merit or which cannot be dealt with by Agency (e.g., complaints about train whistles). Another stakeholder suggests there could be more onus put on the complainant to provide evidence.

Other Issue Areas

In the next year or so, stakeholders in the rail industry expect they will face challenges related to insurance, which the Agency will have influence over. A few rail stakeholders mentioned that the Agency and the rail industry are not seeing eye to eye on certain safety concerns; for example, a few feel the Agency is not in a position to make judgements about train whistles, and that responsibility for rail crossings needs to be coordinated with Transport Canada. Specific improvements rail stakeholders wish to see in the Agency include more expertise within the Agency on rail issues, clarification of their jurisdiction, and more communication about new working groups. Some rail stakeholders feel there could be more opportunity for the Agency and rail to work together to solve issues, but also expressed concerns that the Agency has not followed through with previous decisions/agreements. Some shippers have their eye on how the Agency's revised mandate under Bill C-52 will affect the shipping community. Shippers wish to see more outreach and education by the Agency about its services.

C) Airline Industry

Interviews were conducted with seven unique organizations in the airline industry. Most representatives indicated that they consulted with other individuals in their organization to solicit multiple opinions or to defer to areas of expertise. Most stakeholders in the airline industry, particularly the air carriers, indicate that they interact extensively with the Agency, particularly in areas such as consumer complaints, new regulations, interpretations of decisions and accessibility issues. In addition to responding to issues, most stakeholders also indicate that their interaction with the Agency has involved proactive discussions by the Agency and consultation on matters relevant to the industry. While some stakeholders indicate that they "do not see eye to eye" on some issues, most stakeholders describe their relationship as positive with the Agency being seen as very approachable to provide guidance and support (this is consistent with previous interview session findings).

Airline industry stakeholders identify several areas of the Agency's work that require more attention or improvement. Some stakeholders, particularly the large air carriers, indicate that there needs to be a more balanced approach where the needs of both the consumer and the industry are considered. These stakeholders identify a change in recent years from the ability to demonstrate (on the industry side) significant material costs of a decision to more of a "pro-consumer advocate" approach in the past few years. A few stakeholders suggest improvements to processes such as streamlining the amount of paperwork involved in formal filing of terms and conditions of carriage or in the tendency of the Agency to transfer notifications by fax (which is less accessible when away from the office) rather than e-mail.

Airline stakeholders noted several challenges which are expected to influence their organization in the next year. Similar to prior interview sessions where accessibility and accommodation were identified as key issues, current issues expected to influence airlines are most prominently related to passenger rights. Stakeholders noting this challenge identify an increasing focus and accommodation on disabilities in response to aging population and allergies. Likewise, a few stakeholders indicate that passenger rights are being defined through tariff rulings. One client articulates that as a private industry, they are challenged with "trying to do more with less" and Agency requirements and rulings have a financial impact on their organization.

Permits, Operating Certificates, Licenses and International Agreements

As with feedback in previous interview sessions, most stakeholders report positive interactions with the Agency staff that administer permits, operating certificates, licenses, and international agreements. Interactions are described as collaborative with Agency staff and the process satisfactory. Although some stakeholders report that the requirements are somewhat "bureaucratic", most stakeholders indicate that they are provisionally required to renew (licensing and permits) or to report (financial and Canadian Status requirements) with the Agency and that the process overall is acceptable. Specific areas of concern or improvement were noted by a few stakeholders:

  • Licensing and permits: Delays in licensing applications were noted by one client as a challenge to their organization. For example, "if there is a particular point in an application not filled in correctly, the Agency will send it back and the clock starts back at 90 days, causing greater delay."
  • Canadian status requirements: One client indicated that asking for audited records of privately held companies to determine if a company is Canadian controlled is unreasonable. A suggested alternative would be to get a certification that the owners are Canadian.
  • International agreements: One stakeholder indicated that it is a challenge to not be provided with sufficient documentation prior to negotiations with another country. While it is understandable that some material be kept confidential, this client expressed that it is difficult to be exposed to documents for the first time "on the spot" and would prefer to receive some text in advance.
Tariffs

Consistent with results in previous client consultations, stakeholders welcome the experience and expertise of the Agency to support the filing of tariffs. Additionally, sample tariffs published on the Agency website by the Agency are viewed as a useful tool by most stakeholders. However, activity in tariff-related complaints and decisions was noted by most stakeholders as a concern in the past year. As noted by one client, "Tariffs may have been applied for many years without a complaint. Now, there is a propensity with tariffs to leverage one decision against another".

Another aspect of concern for airline stakeholders is that while a legitimate complaint by a passenger is considered reasonable to respond to, a notable amount of activity is initiated by an individual who was not a customer of the airline. Provisions say that individuals can complain against tariffs if they believe the tariffs are unreasonable or discriminatory. As a tariff constitutes a contract between the airline and the consumer, these stakeholders feel that the Agency should take measures to ensure that individuals have a material complaint. Some stakeholders feel that the Agency has "greatly expanded [its] area of interest" and "what is reasonable in the eyes of the Agency may not be reasonable elsewhere", such as other jurisdictions in which carriers operate.

Finally, a few stakeholders state problems with a quasi-judicial body making decisions that are difficult for industry. These stakeholders state that the Agency is "ruling by decisions" which creates an inequitable environment for carriers and a "patchwork of decisions". As a solution, a few stakeholders indicated that the Agency should be adopting regulations to enable consistency across the industry.

D) Marine Industry

Two interviews were held with stakeholders who have an interest in the marine industry. Both have a positive working relationship with the Agency, though the nature of their interaction with the Agency varies considerably. Both stakeholders expressed an interest in the Agency offering more training sessions and outreach to its stakeholders, though on different topics (one sees a need for more training on dispute resolution alternatives; the other has an interest in accessibility code of practice training). One feels training could take the form of conferences, webinars, and teleconferences. There were no systematic industry-related issues identified in these interviews.

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